As the dust settles on the 6th instalment of the Futurescape trade show, it is worth taking a minute to recognise and appreciate the positive effect that both the show, and in general the ProLandscaper magazine and associated publications have had on our industry.
It has been 10 years since the first edition of ProLandscaper magazine was published and it has been an upwards trajectory ever since. The team at Eljays44 have helped to lift the profile of the industry we know and love, and given the landscaping industry the voice that it fully deserves.
This year’s instalment at the increasingly more congested Sandown park racecourse venue saw another great line-up of guest speakers covering business topics from industry big hitters like Ken White from Frosts Landscapes to more technical seminars from the likes of Green Blue Urban and Tim O’Hare Associates. These educational forums break up the monotony of stand surfing and allow new members of our Bourne Amenity sales team to gather invaluable insights from seasoned industry campaigners like Mark Gregory and David Dodd. The 30 under 30 competition is also a great way to encourage and celebrate emerging talent within the industry, which is desperately needed within the sector.
The strength of shows such as this is that they focus on innovation and education rather than being purely business driven and although we have had a stand since the show inception, it is a great opportunity to meet and share a coffee with friends and foes from within the industry. Although we operate in a ferociously competitive trading environment, the Futurescape concept allows for, and is at the time of year where, we can take stock of the year’s successes and look at ways to build and drive innovation moving toward next year. The single day, winter format is perfect for a quick snapshot of the marketplace and if this year is anything to go by, then the landscaping sector has never been more buoyant.
We welcome the input from the team at Eljays44 and are proud to support all of their new initiatives. We have recently been announced as the headline sponsor for their inaugural Podium Awards in March of 2019. We see ourselves as innovators within our own specialist field, and the exposure that comes from the shows, seminars and workshops provided by organisations such as BALI and Eljays44 has undoubtedly helped the industry move with the times, and respond to the challenging trading environment and a greater desire for innovation and excellence.
Overall the show was another resounding success, and the general takeaway feeling was that the industry was in decent shape heading into 2019. There are some startlingly innovative specifications that land on my desk on a weekly basis, from ambitious roof garden schemes to outstanding work in the field of SuDS and other environmentally continuous projects. The mood seems positive given the rising threat or opportunity provided by Brexit, and the team at Eljays44 are certainly doing all they can to promote the hard work and dedication emanating from within the industry.
John Bourne & Co were represented at the National Fruit Show 2018 at Detling Show Ground, Kent. The show presents the best of British produce and technology for fruit growers.
There was great attendance over the two days, which allowed us to meet new clients, talk to current clients and discuss opportunities for 2019. The main talking point of the show was the extraordinarily dry year, which in many instances resulted in a large crop of well sized top fruit (apples). For vines, an increase of up to 50% above normal was noted.
However, it was made particularly clear by the majority of visitors we talked to, that without compost application, the first-year growth and vigour would have been seriously affected. The excessive heat and lack of moisture during the growing season meant that, without compost, the soils would not have been able to retain the moisture, which would have been a significant detriment to the orchard.
Compost application to new orchards is achieved in two ways: (a) spreading down the marked rows before planting, ensuring that the compost falls into the holes with the root when planted. Option (b) is to spread down the rows immediately after planting, which helps with weed suppression, moisture retention and improving the soil structure with organic matter.
The increased yield, particularly on the vines, has caused an increased volume of product for pressing. So much so that sites are now using alternative storage options such as IBCs (intermediate bulk containers, typically about 1 cu.m.) and articulated tankers, as there is no extra capacity available. With the increase of smaller vineyards in the UK, this is something that needs more investment moving forward. If you look at the number of new vines planted, 50% of vines planted in the UK have not yet produced a grape. It takes three years for that vine to produce a crop suitable for consumption, so, when these vines start to produce a suitable crop, this will only compound the current problem.
The premium price that the UK wines maintain will also be tested with the increase in yield and lack of pressing facilities…
Bourne Amenity attended the long anticipated Battersea Power Station Development Tour event, perfectly organised by the BALI East Anglia Chairman, Kevin Harden. We show-cased our lightweight substrates to the 50 delegates and fantastic guest speakers, along with the development team from Mace.
In the morning, there were presentations of the overall design philosophy behind the landscaping work from Ben Walker at LDA Design followed by Nick Haddock of Andy Sturgeon Design detailing the thought process of the three separate roof gardens planned for Phase 2 (the power station building itself, with roof garden area totalling well over 8000m²). The designs tie in with the historic cultures of the building and surrounding area, something we’re sure will please the staff at the new Apple European HQ that will be located there.
The Project Development Team from Mace then gave a bigger overview of the whole development project, covering the history of the Power Station and the 42-acre surrounding area, as well as an introduction to the additional phases detailing the new Prospect Park (soon to be the largest play area in Wandsworth), including the very impressive, not to mention huge 2.5 acre roof garden in Phase 3, designed by Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners. The additional details of the of the new £1bn Battersea Power Station Tube Station, which will be connecting with the Nine Elms development, will ensure the development of the iconic Power Station not only attracts the interest of the new buyers, but delivers a new community which is at the core of the development.
After lunch, we were then taken in small groups to walk round the Power Station building site - very interesting!
The facts and figures surrounding the project are, as might be imagined, astoundingly colossal. The original power station usedup to a million tonnes of coal every year, carried in on the Thames in barges to its own jetty. The boilers were then using one and a half million tonnes of water from the river every day. The maximum generating capacity was half a gigawatt, about a fifth of London's total electricity needs. The building is also one of the world's largest brick edifices, containing more than seven million bricks - two million of which are in the process of being replaced as part of the current redevelopment project - which was somewhat of a challenge considering the brick manufactured closed its doors before being brought out of retirement to help revive the Grade II* listed building.
After a number of false starts on various redevelopment projects, the site was finally acquired by Malaysian developers in 2012. The project is planned to have six phases, the first of which is already built. Future phases will include affordable housing and in total, there will be some 4,000 dwellings with nearly 400 bars and restaurants on the site. This will all be powered from a modern gas-burning power station located 2 stories underneath the 6 acre Prospect Park located between the former power station and the river.
It was an amazing day, full of mind-boggling information and we are very grateful to BALI East Anglia for having given us the chance to take part. Having to wait until 2020 for landscaping stages to start seems too far away but will be eagerly anticipating getting involved along the way in the meantime.
The annual Heathfield show was held on Saturday with a solid JB Group presence. Our welcoming stand featuring both Gardenscape and JB & Co lorries and products attracted not only many visitors, but also a first prize for Best Agricultural Stand (under 12 metres). Well done Nicola for creating a friendly and informative layout with just two lorries, 14 bulk bags and three hanging baskets!
It was a fantastic day for the show - wall-to-wall sunshine and an enthusiastic crowd of visitors. The displays were, as ever, very impressive and since our stand is right next by the main ring, we even got to see some of them. However, the stand was very busy with visitors and we had a great number of enquiries, both for the agricultural materials and from keen gardeners.
The stand design works well - the lorries and flag can be seen from all over the showground. And the hanging baskets were a notable and favourably commented-upon feature (can you spot all three of them in the featured photo?). It didn't take too much engineering expertise to put the gazebo up, either! Our catering supplies were much appreciated, with a keg of Level Best taking pride of place. Despite Peter's and my best efforts we didn't quite manage to finish it...
Lindsey and I had a great trip to the RHS Chelsea show yesterday - the weather provided a useful watering boost to the gardens in the morning (that's a polite way of saying we were totally drenched on the way across Chelsea Bridge) and then obliged with sunshine from midday onwards.
As you might imagine, the garden and floral exhibits were stunning - people were standing three deep to get near the show gardens. The Group is fortunate enough to have supplied four magnificent gardens:
- Conway Landscaping - the Embroidered Minds Epilepsy Garden
- Frosts Landscape Construction Limited - trade stand for Gaze Burvill Limited
- Randle Siddeley - the LG EcoCity Garden
- Senseless Acts of Beauty - the Pearlfisher Garden
It wasn't very easy to get to talk to anybody though - the show was very crowded. In total we spent about five hours at the show - and more or less the same time travelling there and back. London traffic!